The P1000 is a loveable beast and an optical marvel. Max zoom is rarely required in real-world shooting, and the optic necessitates a small sensor with underwhelming image quality. Read on the following Nikon Coolpix P1000 review to learn more about this superzoom camera.
Nikon Coolpix P1000 Review
The camera has a far smaller sensor than the average interchangeable-lens camera, for example, it’s 1/2.3in dimensions being the smallest we tend to find among fixed-lens cameras such as this one, although this is at least back-illuminated for better light-gathering capabilities.
The sensor outputs images at 16.1MP in your choice of raw (NRW) or JPEG flavors (or both at once). Given that raw shooting was absent from the previous Coolpix P900, it’s great to see it’s made it’s way here.
That 17-element, 12-group beast of an optic understandably doesn’t come with a constant maximum aperture running through the whole focal range.
Unsurprisingly, Nikon has focused on ensuring that you can still get crisp images when you travel into those four-figure settings, which comes by way of a Dual Detect Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) system. There’s also a VR Active mode that’s said to deliver greater stability in the viewfinder and on the rear display when you’re shooting from a moving vehicle or similar.
Look further into the spec sheet and you can see that, despite appearances, the P1000 isn’t all about its mammoth lens. 4K UHD video recording is on board, recording in either 30fps or 25fps, so if you think about what you can capture at this resolution at the telephoto extreme, it makes an already special camera start to look even more unique.
Full HD video options on top of that allow you to shoot to 60fps, and you can boost this further with a range of lower-resolution, slow-motion options.
The partnership of a 3.2-inch LCD screen with a 921k-dot resolution and a 2.36-million dot EVF is pretty much what we expect on a camera of this kind, the latter being quite a boost over the 922k-dot resolution of the previous P900.
2. Build and handling
As you’d expect for a camera boasting the kind of zoom reach to make a paparazzi snooper green with envy, the P1000 isn’t exactly compact. With dimensions of 146 x 119 x 181mm, it’s similar in size to a full-frame DSLR equipped with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, but with much more girth around what would be the lens mount.
All this bulk does at least make the P1000 a comfortable camera to hold, with a well-sculpted grip and generous area to rest your thumb, though build quality feels a little hollow and not quite on par with a DSLR.
The selection of rear buttons (and basic menu interface) are also more in-keeping with a Coolpix compact camera than something like a Nikon D3500, but there is a PASM mode dial to easily select shooting modes and a control wheel for adjusting key settings.
The flip-out 3.2-inch, the 921k-dot monitor is a match for an entry-level DSLR in terms of clarity, but it lacks touch-sensitivity, which stings considering the P1000’s hefty price tag. Thankfully Nikon hasn’t skimped on the 2359k-dot OLED EVF, as this is a pleasure to use. The only minor issue is there can be a slight but sometimes frustrating delay before it activates via the automatic eye sensor.
3. Image quality
Superzoom cameras have a tendency to have a serious quality fall off at the long end of zoom — so what does 3000mm really look like? Surprisingly, rather good. While wide-angle shots come out clearer, the lens at full zoom didn’t see a serious drop-off in sharpness. The widest position of the lens is a bit sharper than the longest, but a difference that would be difficult to spot in regular use.
The lens captures good detail throughout the zoom range but does tend to flare a bit.
The f/2.8 aperture at the wide end is good for the category, but that drops off quite a bit to f/8 at the telephoto end. With a 3000mm zoom, there’s still enough background separation to get some nice blur, which generally isn’t something you get from small-sensor cameras.
A 125x zoom camera isn’t really designed for indoor use — you’d have to be in a stadium to warrant that much zoom. The f/2.8 lens means low light shots aren’t terrible at the wider angles, however, so the camera at least isn’t useless indoors. As expected of a small sensor, high ISO noise is certainly noticeable, but we’d say it’s acceptable up to ISO 800. Quality drops off significantly at ISO 1600.
Color reproduction is average, with decent colors on most images. A handful of images on auto white balance were a bit cool, but the camera captured accurate white balance more often than not.
Video, at the widest angle, looks excellent with vivid colors and sharp detail in 4K. The full extent of the zoom isn’t really meant for video, however. Even on a tripod, the footage was shaky at 3000mm — though that was shot outdoors with some wind.